OK, so a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Muslim and an agnostic are locked in a basement…
No, it’s not the start of a joke. It’s a critical premise that begins the seminal work, A Marginal Jew, 5 volumes that cemented the wedding of the “historic Jesus” to the “Christ of religion” as a worthy and very important a part of theological scholarship. Authored by priest and scholar John P. Meier who died in October at age 80, its opening premise imagines a vigorous dialogue between the 5 fervent lock-ins whereby they try to wrestle out frequent floor upon which they’ll all comfortably agree with regard to Jesus of Nazareth.
Printed in 1991, with subsequent volumes over the following two-and-a-half a long time, Meier’s broadly praised opus opened the door to a brand new period of historic Christian scholarship—whereby religion and cause might collectively produce a deeper understanding of the Savior—and extra importantly signaled a possibility for unity and cooperation among the many diversified Christian denominations. Meier practiced what he preached, himself working for almost 20 years establishing dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Disciples of Christ.
Meier, like many critical students, was himself unserious. Colleagues on listening to of his passing regretted dropping his wit in addition to his knowledge. A beloved educator for almost a half-century, first at Dunwoodie Seminary, then at Catholic College of America and eventually on the College of Notre Dame, Professor Meier was legendary amongst college students and college for his epigrammatic summations of the finer factors of scripture commentary specifically in addition to the broader view of life itself typically:
“It sounds good however—like so many good sounding spiritual statements—is incorrect.”
“The Gospel of John is like Texas: the whole lot right here is larger and higher.”
“Jesus reworked water into between 120 and 180 gallons of wine: sufficient to intoxicate a Roman maniple [subdivision of a legion].”
“Nearly any place on any e book within the Bible could be confirmed if the defender of the thesis is free to decide on which passages from the e book will probably be thought of. All of the favorable knowledge will probably be marshaled, and all of the unfavorable knowledge will probably be ignored.”
“Training is the method by which you unlearn the whole lot you as soon as knew.”
A number of of Meier’s fellow professors expressed their grief at Meier’s passing.
“We deeply mourn the lack of our pal and mentor,” John Fitzgerald, professor in Christianity and Judaism in antiquity on the College of Notre Dame and a longtime colleague of Meier, wrote. “He was a person of eager wit with an irrepressible humorousness, however we will proceed to rejoice his life and scholarship for many years to return.”
Doctoral scholar Jonathan Sanchez, who participated in Meier’s remaining doctoral seminar through the spring semester of 2021, added, “Professor Meier’s rigor and brilliance have been matched by his kindness.”
The scientific methodology as a process of study of scripture started within the seventeenth century and by the 18th century, the German thinker Hermann Reimarus was making an attempt to establish Jesus in historical past. The rift between the “historic Jesus” and the “Christ of religion” discovered its fruits with Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest of the Historic Jesus: A Vital Research of its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede, revealed in 1906.
Presumably a reconciliation between religion and science within the research of Jesus was inevitable—maybe not. However it will be one other 4 rating and 5 years earlier than John P. Meier would deliver the 2 collectively and by doing so would additionally create a foundation for ecumenical dialogue and understanding. He was the primary to take action, however due to his legacy he possible is not going to be the final.